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Absence of $195m waterway contract papers with Israeli group stalls NASS hearing

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions investigative hearing on ceding of waterways to foreign private companies on Tuesday at the resumed hearing decried the continued absence of the contract papers.

Accordingly, the Committee chairman, Hon. Nkem-Obonta Uzoma adjourned the hearing to February 6th and another comfortable date to effectively conclude the investigation.

The Committee is investigating the petition written by Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative (EUYI) led by Mr. Solomon Adodo and his exco member who were present during the hearing.

Hon. Uzoma made it clear that come Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transportation must appear with the contract document while statuesque remain.

The Committee explained further that statusquo remains means that the contract should be on hold pending the final decision of the investigative hearing.

The Nigerian Navy was adequately represented but the Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and his partner, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Dakuku Peterside were absent.

Only weekend, highly infuriated House of Representatives Committee on the Nigerian Navy chided the Minister of Transportation and leadership of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to think of awarding contract of patrolling the nation’s maritime domain to a foreign firm when the Nigerian Navy is alive.

The Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and DG of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, had apparently ceded the deal to an Israeli company, HLSI Security Firms and Technology Inc., without any recourse to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) for competitive bidding in the first instance.

Earlier in an interview, Abdussamad Dasuki, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Nigerian Navy and representing Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency, Sokoto, said “the contract was not just a security breach but also defies the local content law, which promulgates patronising made in Nigeria goods and services”.

Explaining more during an on-the-spot assessment of the units “ceding the patrol of waterways and other critical national assets to foreign companies is to the detriment of the navy, whose constitutional role it is to safeguard and patrol the coastal waters and the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ)”.

The Committee boss argued further that such surreptitious transaction without due process relying on the maritime trust fund which falls under maritime security and anti-piracy, is a plot to embarrass and circumvent the navy out of its constitutional roles and remains null and void.

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